How To Measure Water Contamination Levels In Your Equipment’s Lubrication System

May 19, 2022

How To Measure Water Contamination Levels In Your Equipment’s Lubrication System

The best way to keep your equipment in pristine condition is by keeping its lubrication system free from water as much as possible.

The biggest hurdle in your effective maintenance program is water because if it enters your lubrication system, it will hamper your equipment’s efficiency.

Water is a destructive and costly contaminant that results in premature equipment wear and tear, which then leads to lubrication degradation.

The best way to stop water contamination from entering your equipment’s system is by using authentic hydraulic filter carts.

Also Read: The Effects of Water Contamination on Oil Filters

By following the best practices for storage and by installing adequate moisture prevention and removal equipment, you can make sure that the water level in your equipment’s system remains low.

In this blog post, we will talk in detail about some of the methods that will help you measure water contamination levels in your equipment’s lubrication system.

Recognize The Waters State

The first step to stopping water contamination is by understanding and recognizing the states at which water is present in your lubrication system.

Here are the three stages in which water is present in your lubrication system:

Dissolved Water

Dissolved water is present in the oil as uniformly distributed molecules. Since there are no obvious signs of its presence, this mixture results in a high concentration of water that goes unnoticed until a certain point is reached.

Depending upon its age and temperature, oil can hold up to 200 to 600 ppm of dissolved water before reaching its full saturation level.

Emulsified Water

When the water saturation level reaches its peak, it becomes emulsified. Once the water molecules become emulsified, they are suspended in the lubricant. These emulsified water molecules often cause haziness, forming, and milkiness in your equipment’s lubrication system.

Free-State Water

When water condensation in your equipment’s lubrication system continues, or additional water molecules enter the system, it results in free-state water.

In a free-water state, the oil is separated from the water, and the free water accumulates in the bottom of the reservoirs, sumps, and tanks of your equipment.

Water Measuring Methods

It is very difficult to completely eliminate water molecules from your equipment’s lubrication system. Hence, your goal should be to keep the water level as low as possible.

Water contamination prevention starts with resolving humidity, condensation, and ingress issues.

Leaking seals, corners, environmental moisture, and compromised or inappropriate storage containers are all avenues of water contamination. The best practices for lubricant storage include:

  • Installation of authentic filters carts in humid storage areas
  • Adequate protection of storage tanks and drums in an outdoor environment
  • Proper cleaning of indoor and outdoor storage containers

Adequate monitoring of water levels is also essential for avoiding unseen internal component wear and tear that can lead to sudden equipment failure.

Here are the three common water measuring methods:

Crackle Testing

In this method, the water level is roughly determined by correlating the amount of bubbling of a drop of oil when it is dropped on a hot plate. However, this method does not offer precise measurement and is just a quick test for an on-the-spot assessment.

Capacitive Water Sensor

In this water measuring method, the real-time measurement of the water level is done by analyzing the capacitance variation of a substrate. This method is precise and can be used to control the water saturation in your equipment’s lubrication system.

Karl Fischer Moisture Test

If you want to measure the absolute level of water molecules in your equipment’s lubrication system, then the Karl Fischer moisture test is the best way to get a precise assessment of water levels.

But keep in mind that this method is not useful for time-sensitive applications as there is a long wait time for saturation level results.

About Harvard Filtration

Harvard Filtration offers what it takes to meet your industrial filtration needs. We offer a broad range of filtration systems. Harvard filtration systems and filter carts are the most trusted and dependable portable filtration systems.

Compatible with a broad assortment of petroleum-based and synthetic fluids, our filter carts can remove contaminants and water to a single micron, ensuring decreased hazardous waste disposal. Select our filters to experience your machine’s high performance. Contact us today here.